US Department of Labor Announces New Paid Sick Leave and Expanded FFCRA Regulations: FFCRA Guidance to Help Employers and Employees Understand Expanded Paid Sick Leave for COVID-19

On April 1, 2020, the United States Department of Labor announced new regulations offering guidance as to how employers and employees will benefit from relief and protection under the Families Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”). FFCRA reimburses private employers with fewer than 500 employees with tax credits for the cost of providing employees with paid leave in connection with COVID-19. Among other items, the new regulations clarified that:

  • Employees must give notice to their employers of the need to take leave and provide supporting documentation, however the documentation does not require a positive COVID-19 test result or a note from a health care provide.
  • The employee’s documentation must include:
  1. Employee’s name
  2. Dates for which leave is requested
  3. Coronavirus-qualifying reason for leave
  4. A statement that the employee can’t work or telework because of the qualifying reason for leave
  5. If the leave is based upon a quarantine order or self-quarantine advisory, then a statement of the government entity ordering the quarantine;
  6. If the leave is based upon another person’s quarantine, then a statement of the other person’s name and relationship to the employee
  7. If a school closes or child care is unavailable, then: (i) the name and age of the child/children; (ii) the name of school or childcare location that is closed; (iii) a representation that no other person will provide care for the child during the leave; and (iv) if the child is older than 14, a statement that special circumstances exist requiring the employee to provide care
  • Interestingly, the regulations provided a broad definition of “health care provider,” a category of employee who may be excluded by the employer under FFCRA from paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave. For purposes of FFCRA, the definition of “health care provider” includes not only health care practitioners, but also anyone employed at any doctor’s office, hospital, health care center, clinic, post-secondary educational institution offering health care instruction, medical school, local health department or agency, nursing facility, nursing home, retirement facility, home health care provider, laboratory or medical testing facility, pharmacy, or any similar entity or institution. 

If you have any questions about expanded paid sick leave support under FFCRA, feel free to contact Nicole Gardner or another member of Gardner Skelton’s employment law team.

For more written information on the guidance, see the following links:

General Questions and Answers

Fact Sheet for Employers

Fact Sheet for Employees